Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I'm it!

I thought now that we were well into January that I had avoided this trail runner blog tagging thing, but apparently Chihping Fu just tagged me so I guess I'll answer the call.

1. Most memorable moment on the trails in 2007.
My most memorable moment on the trails last year has to be the point during Headlands Hundred in the wee hours of the morning when I found myself off course at the bottom of the Pirate's Cove stairs. I know, one would expect that it would be when I crossed the finish line and that realizing I had taken a wrong turn late in my first 100-miler would be the low point and not the high point. However, the question was about "memorable" moments and this one will stick with me for a long time. The most memorable part of the experience was not the disappointment in realizing I had gone wrong, but the surprise at my own mental reaction to it. Once I knew where I was I simply became even more determined. In fact, it was at that very point where I knew I would finish the race no matter what. As my mind became more focused, my body followed and I actually ran a good portion of the rest of that leg even on some of the steep uphills.

2. Best new trail discovered in 2007.
This is a tough one. I could pick one of the new trails at one of the races I did such as the beautiful desert at Javelina. However, when I think of new trails my mind automatically goes to some of my training runs. I have run some beautiful trails in a great variety of terrain, but, in my mind, the best trails are the ones that you get to run the most often. Discovering Garin/Dry Creek Pioneer Parks up in the hills of Hayward was probably the best new discovery. The trails are nothing spectacular. They aren't as brutal as my Mission Peak training grounds and offer nowhere near the distance options of the Ohlone Wilderness and Sonol. They aren't nearly as beautiful as the trails further north up at Chabot or in the Oakland Hills. It doesn't even offer the continuous "bit loop" option of Pleasanton Ridge. However, nothing beats finding a new option for running some hilly trails within easy driving distance from home.

3. My best performance of 2007.
This, without a doubt, has to be my finish at Javelina Jundred. I went into that race with one goal and that was to notch a sub-24 hour 100-miler. I did it with plenty of time to spare. In fact, I took the last mile or so easier than I have ever run any final mile of any race, savoring the knowledge that I had reached a goal that I had set for myself.

4. I don't know how I previously survived without...
Oreo Cookies! I love discovering what new foods work for me at different races. For some reason, during the heat of Javelina, those cookies from my childhood just seemed to do the trick. I would have put Ensure ahead of them since I have learned that it really does help me get through those longer trail races, but it just doesn't have the fun factor of two chocolate wafers with white sugary goo in the middle!

5. The person I would most like to meet on the trails in 2008.
I really enjoy meeting new people out on the trail, getting to know them a little, sharing stories and what not. In some ways, trail races have actually become my social life (sad though that may sound). However, all of my most special moments on the trail have been by myself. My solo training runs are my sanctuary and meditation time. Those moments in tough trail races where I just go inside myself and find the means to endure are also very special to me. So, as far as meeting any particular people out on the trail I can't really pinpoint any individual except perhaps one very important person: my wife. She has decided to get her exercise routine back in order this year and has asked me to take her out for some short trail runs. I will be doing some of my Sunday recovery runs with her.

6. The race I am most excited about for 2008.
I probably would have answered this question differently a week ago. With a plan to do 4 100-milers I certainly would have named one of them in response to this query. However, now that I am being encouraged to go for an Andes Running Adventure by both friends and family, I think all of my excitement is starting to focus on July


Chihping Fu 傅治平 (超馬阿爸) said...


Sorry to bring you to the tagging as it's late (me slow poke). Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I roundly agree with you about Garin/Dry Creek trail. I once trained there and I did not need to go far to MP. Can we call it a "little MP"?

Same with my wife, who just signed up a gym membership and she liked it a lot. Hopefully I can bring her to a short trail run like your plan.

Seems that we have some in common since being in the same town :-)

Wish you best in this year!


Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Yes, Garin's not stunning, but pretty and nice. Have you done all the trails? There's a wide variety to what you can hit.

I'll pass on the Oreo's though...